Ego Psychology Flashcards Preview

Psychotherapy > Ego Psychology > Flashcards

Flashcards in Ego Psychology Deck (11):

Why did ego psychology develop?

Anna Freud thought that children's egos were too weak to withstand the powerful interpretations used in therapy
-although, Melanie Klein felt that children were analyzable


Split of followers in ego psychology

-followers of Anna Freud
-followers of Melanie Klein which later became known as object relations


What is ego psychology?

-This is a psychology of ego function, which stemmed from the drive-conflict model of psychology and was tied to the notion of the ego defense against the drive.
-The Id is unconscious and operates on the pleasure principle, and uses primary process thinking.
-The Ego has conscious parts and unconscious parts (defenses such as repression, displacement, rationalization, sublimation) and operates according to the reality principle, is based on secondary-process thought, and acts as a mediator between the Id and the Superego.


What is a necessary condition for ego therapy?

therapeutic split in the ego (Sterba, 1934) in which there is an observing ego which comments on the emotional experience and has an alliance with the therapist and the experiencing ego


Therapists look for _____, which is

ego strength; which is the person’s capacity to acknowledge reality, even when unpleasant, without resorting to primitive defenses like denial


Hartmann (1939) suggests the therapist should look at the individual in terms of

of capacities for adaptation, reality testing and defense (developmentally obtained and expanded over time). This also suggests that there is a potential for aberrant ego development.


View of pathology

-Aberrant ego development, resulting in primitive and rigid defense, harsh superego functioning, and poor ego functioning (adaptation to reality, judgment and planning)
-“Simply bringing id impulses into consciousness is like a Cold War rescue of a few East Berliners , which fails to address the continuing existence of the Wall and the remaining intricate security system. Freeing some has little impact on the fate of others approaching the same boarder; the guards themselves must be won over, the defensive machinery dismantled.” (Mitchell and Black, 1995)


Key Concepts

-assess type of defenses
-assess whether defenses are flexible or rigid
-assess ego strength
-assess superego functioning


Assess type of defenses

Examples: withdrawal, denial, omnipotent control/grandiosity, primitive idealization/devaluation, splitting, projective identification, dissociation
- Higher Order
repression, regression, isolation of affect, intellectualization, undoing, turning against the self, acting out, displacement, reaction formation, sublimation, identification


Curative factors

-gaining insight developing an observing ego
-developing defenses that are mature and flexible



-interpretation of defense (therapist acts as observing ego)
-interpretation of person's superego functioning
-identification with therapist to facilitate the development of an observing ego